written by:
July 29, 2011
Originally published in A New Slant on Family Fun

Classic or contemporary, these titles are guaranteed to appeal to burgeoning bookworms of the modernist sort.

Children's design books

Bruno Munari’s ABC
by Bruno Munari
Chronicle Books, $20

There are myriad ways to make the alphabet come alive, but few match the pitch-perfect pacing of Bruno Munari’s 1960 gem. This picture dictionary is illustrated with a healthy respect for white space, allowing each image—–say, an owl, and an orange, and an onion—–to breathe. Keep an eye on the fly as he flits from page-to-page.

Who Will Comfort Toffle?

A Tale of Moomin Valley

by Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly
Publications, $17

Youth can be a solitary place, when the journey of growing up feels like a forlorn endeavor. Every kid needs to know that in spite of the loneliness of finding oneself, there’s a friend out there to be discovered. Follow little Toffle on his trek to seek out a sympathetic pal in Tove Jannsson’s 1960 Scando classic. We’ll cop to getting choked up.

Design Dossier—Graphic Design

by Pam Pease
Paintbox Press, $24

Learning to communicate isn’t limited to speaking up or writing down. For the kids who have mastered the art of the crayon—–or, maybe more commonly, the mouse—–and are increasingly intrigued with the wide world of visual statements, this dossier will teach them the basic tenets behind graphic design. Q&As with pros like Pentagram’s Paula Scher are accompanied by a handy timeline of milestones.

Charley Harper Coloring
Book of Birds

by Charley Harper
Ammo Books, $7

Ah, to draw like Charley Harper. The longtime Cincinnatian took his greatest creative cues from nature, transforming the vibrant environment into geometric interpretations of flora and fauna. Here, a collection of his feathered friends is laid out in black and white, waiting for a helping hand to fill in the hues.

Little 1
by Ann and Paul Rand
Chronicle Books, $17

Poor Little 1. The loneliest
number spends so much time trying to fit in—–with established pairs of pears, trios of bears, and ever-expanding groups that just don’t have room for one more. Renowned graphic designer Paul brings his signature style to the drawings, while his wife Ann’s narrative will keep kids captivated until the end, when (spoiler alert!) a simple hoop saves the day.

Patrick Hruby Memory Game
by Patrick Hruby
Ammo Books, $16

Sure, this game isn’t exactly reading, per se. But acquiring the skills to observe and recall are key in the developmental process, and what better way to cultivate your kid’s mental dexterity than with a rousing game of Memory? Patrick Hruby’s bold graphics chronicle circus life, the great outdoors, and more.

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